Friday, July 20, 2018

Summer Daze

I've been laying low this summer, and with the exception of Figure Inspiration Group, I've not been drawing or painting.  Instead, I'm taking a hiatus for just a little while.  There were several interactions that happened with a particular individual in a drawing group that I enjoyed going to, especially since it was nearby.  It felt like an ambush and was meant to humiliate me in front of the other members of this group.  Even when I was alone, this person cornered me and was either scolding me because of what I brought as my contribution for the potluck or saying something so offensive that it could very well be construed as racist (you should take the Sumei e because that's my thing she curtly said) . After this happened, I decided to skip the next week trying to let things cool off, but when I returned the next week, this person would not let it go and, again, in front of everyone, began to speak about this show I was not accepted in, but she was.  Honestly, I was disappointed about not being accepted, but it definitely was not the end of the world for me - you win some, you lose some and sometimes it rains. However, I was not the one who brought it up,  this person went out of her way to try to make me look bad and put herself up there.  This whole interaction totally knocked me down because I thought we were friends.  I don't know how the other members of this drawing group felt about it, but I can only imagine it was awkward for them.  For me, life is too short to feel bad and I don't go to drawing groups to be chastised and made to feel like a loser by some bully.  These kind of things really set me back for awhile, but I always get back on my feet and go on.  Although I love being a  part of art groups for the support and camaraderie, but I can't waste my time continuing to be unhappy with something I love. 

My "Lamp" drawing headed south after using some products I had never used before.  I'm not one to carefully experiment, I jump in and just do it and then learn by my mistakes, and this one was a big one. I'm a little wiser now, so I have another drawing that I will be doing a little experimenting on, but I am testing a little bit before I delve into it.  One thing that has been a big plus is that I was asked to donate a drawing to the Silent Auction for the International Colored Pencil Show to be held the end of July and early August in Chicago this year.  It was such an honor, I think I am the only artist without letters as last year was the first time I had been accepted and to win 2nd honors.  It took me a day to figure out what I was going to do and then I had it.  I decided to do a still life piece with one of my Buddha figures and draped orchids and flowers all around him set against a starry sky.  It's entitled "Speak No Evil".  My intention is that we all be a little more kinder and civil with each other in person and in social media.  Against my better judgement, it was tempting to make one of the stars the Twitter bird logo, but thank goodness I didn't go there.  Here is the drawing:
"Speak No Evil" (10.50" x 8" - Colored Pencils)
 This drawing is among other incredible drawings by super stellar artists.  You can check it out here:  CPSA Silent Auction .

Our days at Figure Inspiration Group are numbered.  The landlords are kicking Bravo School of Arts out and because we sublease on Tuesday mornings, that means us  as well.  There are other issues going on, but suffice to say we will no longer be meeting after the end of August.  The San Diego Watercolor Society, however, has a figure life drawing group that meets on Thursdays, so once my trip to Chicago is over and FIG is over, I'll be joining that group. 

I have several ideas for paintings and drawings that are stewing in my head that I will get to, but for the time I took a break I played with other materials.  I have a fascination with recyclable materials or re-purposing materials into art.  I have an artist friend who picks up stuff from her walks and makes art out of them.  She makes some incredible art objects!  I joined a mail art swap to make hearts with wings.  I love playing with the aluminum from soda cans and so I made my wings using the aluminum from soda cans and used dryer softener sheets and tissue paper.  I painted angels or muses on the hearts, and made tiny origami hearts with inspirational sayings and adhered them to the backs.  Here's what they look like: 

They were fun to make, but I should know better than to join two swaps!  

My next venture was to sew Talisman rocks with charms that I saw in an article "Objects of Comfort" from the artist Virginia Gertenbach in the February/March 2018 issue.  I fell in love with them on sight and had to make my own.  They will be my gifts to a particular group of artists I'll be seeing later in the year.  Mine are probably a little more colorful and incorporate beads and bits of old jewelry donated by another friend.  Each rock has a message tucked inside that I got from one of my meditation apps and it says, "May you be happy, may you be safe, may your heart be at peace".  And with that, I wish you the same and to have a lovely summer!

Saturday, February 17, 2018


I'm pretty inconsistent in keeping this blog up to date and, maybe, keeping people interested in my art.  I'm an introvert and it's difficult to describe everything that I do and why I do it.  I wish, sometimes, that I could be a very good story teller, but I find that it's so much work and I'm lazy in that area. However, I'm very passionate about art and a blog is a nice way of keeping track of myself and my art even if no one reads it.  I'll try to be better at keeping the updates going.  I do post a lot of my works in progress on other social media, mainly on Instagram @rhondaandersonart

 2017 was a very interesting year for me with some ups and downs. First of all, this happened: CPSA 25th Annual International Show  .  It was a beautiful dream except it was really happening, and to think, I entered on a whim wanting to give the piece one more shot at being in a show.  It was the first entry I was accepted and I won 2nd place with my drawing/painting "Lotus Dance". It was icing on the cake when it was purchased as well. The Mansion on the Strathmore was a beautiful venue for the exhibition, and they promoted the show so much and sold so much that they want us to come back again!
"Lotus Dance" hanging in The Mansion on the Strathmore

Last summer, I had a health issue and spent a few days in the hospital and had my first operation.  I had never stayed in a hospital before except to have my son.  I had never been waited on like that and I have to say, I kind of enjoyed being lazy and having others look after you.

In October, I had invited some mailartist friends to come spend time making art at an Airbnb down on India Street downtown San Diego. We all got on so well and it was one of the funnest times I've had collaborating with other artists.  We all worked on a group project for fun entitled "Project Wrongway".  We took those little plastic skeletons you can buy cheaply at Michaels, and styled them with cloth, ribbon, feathers, bling and all kinds of ephemera.  We video taped the Project Wrongway runway walk with "Skelly Tyler" hosting.  Yes, we all found our inner child and had a blast.  Here is the link to the video: Project Wrongway    We are going to meet again this year in Albuquerque!

Now, I am working on a entry for the Colored Pencil's 26th International Exhibit which will be held in Chicago this year.  I plan to attend whether or not my entry is accepted or rejected.  I would love to see the city as I've only gone through it a few times. Even though I do work both in colored pencils and watermedia, and soon mixerd media, I find each medium an excellent way to convey ideas and thoughts.  With all the negative diversity, I find that colored pencils are an excellent way to convey ideal universal ways of thinking and I am hoping the viewer will understand and agree with what I have to say.  This new piece will be called "Many Lamps, One Light" and it is my hope that other's who see this will take this in the most positive, spiritual way and that even though we may have different ways of worship or connecting spiritually with God, God is the same for us all.  I'm working on the background now and it's taking forever but I should be done with it soon.  I decided to work on illustration board using Caran d' Ache Pablo colored pencils.  I bought Alonya Nickleson's texture fixative and, also, the powder thinking I could use this for the background.  However, I learned that it only works on a textured background like suede.  So, now I'm painstakingly filling in the background.  After this is done, I plan to go back to hardpress watercolor paper and using the Icarus board developed by Ester Roi for future drawings.  It's so much easier to have the heat spread the wax of the colored pencil quickly and then to go back on top to put in the detail. Here are my stages, the penciling in of the different lamps.  After seeing the photo, I decided to switch the Art Deco lamp with the Lava Lamp. The next one are the lamps in color with all their different textures.

Pencil drawing "Many Lamps, One Light"

Progress with coloring of lamps

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bottles of Art on the Wall

Whoops, I let a whole month go by without writing about the art I've been making.  Well...., one of the things I got into is making "Bottle Art". On Instagram, I saw a lot of artist's bottle art for a show being held in Las Vegas.  It was just a show, and people could purchase their art either at the gallery or through the artist.  I thought it would be great if I could trade Bottle art using a template I made, but I think the format might be too large.  However, a few artists did agree to trade and I received amazing bottle art from them.  Here are some of the bottle art I traded.

Spring Nature Goddess with Bluebird

Cranky Smoking Elder Lady 1

Raven Shaman II


Raven Shaman I

Flower Crowned Bunny with Pink Moon

Cranky Smoking Elder Woman II

Cavaleras Las Flores

Sakura Buddha

Anthropomorphic Sun
I also made an art book entitled "Play" with Ravens playing with shiny jewels with each other.  I used a Gothic Arch template to create an accordion book.  Sandwich between the cover and the arches, are used dryer sheets.  I squirted watercolor using a hypodermic tool on it and the cover.  
Add caption

Cover of "Play"

Ravens at Play

Working on the inside and on dryer sheets 

I joined another drawing group at Foothills Gallery in La Mesa, so I belong to quite a few art tribes.  We can work on any project with any media, but mainly it's with colored pencil artists.  Quite a few of them have left the San Diego chapter as I did some years ago, and have now joined the LA chapter.  It sounds very inspiring, so I decided to join again, this time with Los Angeles.  I'm getting ready for the International Show next month and can't wait to meet up with all these wonderful artists from everywhere.  I'm so thrilled to have my drawing/painting hanging with very esteemed artists!  

On a sad note, my dearest friend's dog, Hurley, went to dog heaven last week.  He was my dog friend too and it was such a pleasure to have known him.  He had an amazing life journey, having been lost from his home and family during the Witch Creek Fires.  My friend saw him and adopted him immediately.  He was pretty chill except when there was a crackling fire going on in the fireplace, where he would just quietly go into another room  He will be missed so much.  I did a small, quick colored pencil portrait of him to give to my friend to help ease her sadness. 


Thursday, April 6, 2017


One of the most fun jobs I had was that of an airbrush artist back in the free wheeling and fun 70s.  I worked at "The Airbrush Shop" in Pacific Beach. Lazy me would wake up late, go to the shop and paint for hours and then go to the beach, stay up all night having fun and get up and do it again. We didn't know then, that those days would be some of the fondest days we all had together.
We artists made the most complex stencils with flaps upon flaps and spray our designs on practically anything, but mostly t-shirts.  Each of us had a specialty, but we all learned from one another and became experts at waves, clouds, flowers, fairies, Pegasus, animals, and especially wings and birds. We painted team shirts for sky divers, hang gliders, and "Over the Line" teams as well as made beautiful evening dresses and bathing suits. I was once flown to San Francisco to paint actual hang gliders, one of which was inspired by the "Journey to Ixtlan" bird.
Circa 1970s - the artists of The Airbrush Shop,Balboa Dr., Pacific Beach, CA
Left to right: Janice Crofton, Diane Gerard, Katheryn Bailey, Andy Anderson, Me, Robbie Adkins, Wess Smith

These were taken for to be ads in the  newspaper "The Reader".  I think the lady with the cat is our photographer.

I use to know their names, but they came all the way from Telluride, CO to get one of our shirts.

70s Surfboard 

Hang glider painted in the Art Nouveau style I admire so much back then.  This is at Torrey Pines Glider Port

Rainbow Wing Flower Hang Glider

Side view of the Rainbow Wing with the "Journey to Ixtlan" bird and the owner.  She was such a BA back then, I wonder what has become of her now.

We painted a lot of birds-of-prey because so many of our clients loved to fly and related to these incredible birds. Many hang gliders told stories about catching thermals and getting higher and higher, only to have a red-tail hawk flying along side giving the pilot a good look.  So of course, we did many hawks, eagles, falcons and truly tried to make them as  realistic and magical as possible. Although I was more into the hummingbirds and seagulls back then, there was one bird-of-prey I loved as much as the others, and somehow we never did them. It was the magical black crows and ravens with practically every culture giving them a mythological lore.  They are also very intelligent and flying acrobats.
 An artist, from IATC, asked if I would like to contribute a painting with proceeds from the art auction to be donated to the ACLU.  In this day and age, of course I would! The subject could be anything and it could be any size.  Well, my mind is on birds because my friend, Mae, and I trade art on the animal of the year, and this year it's birds. So, I thought I would do a dynamic painting of a raven in fond memories of those days of airbrushing wings and birds-of-prey. What I do for my friend is still up in the air, but here is the painting for a special someone who bids on it.  Here's the link: Art Into Auction 2017

Watercolor 9 x 12 inches

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Story Begins With Her's

18" x 22" Watercolors
I haven't done a painting in two years.  So much was going on during those two years and, frankly,  I just wasn't inspired.  However, sometimes prayers are answered, the future looks very bright again, and the muse comes back! I had always wanted to do a portrait of my mom in her beautiful traditional Japanese wedding kimono.  I had done a previous portrait in colored pencils, but it wasn't very good as I was just getting back into art.
Last December, when Carrie Fischer and her mom Debbie Reynolds passed away, I was reflecting on my own relationship with my mother and how much it may explain my being a weirdo. Weird that I'm a contradiction - social introvert, homebody bookworm  and adventure seeker, serene exterior and nervous wreck interior.  My relationship with my mother was not at all like Carrie's, in fact, to say the least - it was quite the opposite and it has always haunted me.  I pretty much grew up raising and teaching things to myself and helping my siblings as my mother was just not equipped in the way of emotional needs of her children and my father was constantly on tour while he was in the air force.  By the time her 3rd and 4th baby came, she spiraled deep into depression for way too many reasons . At a very young age, I learned how to take her emotional temperature and if it was bad, I did my best to help her in my child capacity.  I learned how to cook and clean by the time I was in kindergarten.  I also quickly learned how to read so I could help translate things to her as she was still learning English and the American culture. But, I also acted out a lot, doing things I never understood why but I felt like I had to live life to the fullest and could be very impulsive. By the time I was in the 3rd grade, she found  religion - Buddhism (Nichiren Shoshu) and connection with other Japanese American women whom she clung to for the rest of her life.  They became the family she always longed for and her life had purpose and direction.  She finally became happy with her life and the direction it took.   However, for me and my siblings, she and her country has always been a large question mark.  But this is what I do know ~
Ohba Family circa late 1920s, early 1930s
Back Left to Right: Name unknown - eldest sister, Asano, Zenkai, name unknown - eldest brother
Front Left to Right: Name unknown - 2nd oldest sister, Korean maid sitting and  holding next to youngest sister Aiko, and sister Fumiko. My mom is not yet born.
My mom, Kazuko, was born in Japan on March 4, 1932 into the very well-to-do Ohba family (old Samurai heritage), her dad Zenkai and her mom, Asano.  Zenkai was a very high ranking officer in the Japanese military during WWII (yes, the wrong side).  Before my mom was born, Zenkai and Asano had 5 children, a boy and 4 girls with my mom becoming their 6th and last child.  However, Asano died a few days after giving birth to my mother.  And so, my mom was motherless with a Korean maid (yikes!) looking after her and her siblings. Knowing what I do, I believe my mother never bonded with her dad and only had a few days as a newborn with her mother.  After Asano died, Zenkai found a new wife and they had a daughter, Hirako (not positive that is her name but we'll call her Hirako here).  By then, the eldest son and a daughter had passed away, but I don't know the story.  The new wife did not want to be encumbered with the two youngest children (Aiko and my mom), and so Zenkai had them adopted out to two of his bodyguards and their respective families.  Some people have told me that is what was customary at the time.  I never knew the name of the man who adopted my mom, except that his last name is Shimizu and that was the name my mother went by. She inherited a step-brother who was older than her by a few years, a step-mother who both doted & spoiled her, but a step-father who was cruel to her. I only go by the few stories my mom happened to mention.  Time went on, and my mom wanting to learn English, found a job at an air force base in Japan as a housekeeper while she went to English school.  She was invited to a party and there she met my dad and they fell in love, married and had me.  By then, she had no memory of her previous family and never knew that the family had been wealthy.  Before my parents married and went to live permanently with me in tow,  a Japanese woman came to visit my mom.  My mom said the woman looked very much like her and it turned out to be her oldest natural sister (name unknown but she is in the dark fur coat to the left of the maid) who had explained about her natural family and about the other adopted sister (Aiko).  While living in her new country, she learned of the death of the sister who had told her about her past.  I believe she is pictured in my parents wedding wearing a white shirt.  In the early 60s, my mom returned to Japan to see/meet her two remaining sisters (Fumiko and Aiko)  and, also the half-sister Hirako.  Every few years, these sisters would meet up and talk of Ohba family past. What became of Zenkai, well it turns out that not too long after he adopted out his two youngest daughters, there was a parade with the military and horses.  One of the horses was acting up and the handler couldn't control it.  So, my grandfather went to take control.  However, the horse threw him and he broke his neck and died. I never found out about the older siblings and how they passed away.  And a lot of the history comes from both Fumiko and Hirako of what they remember.  My mom never said very much about all of this to us, but what she did, I hung on every word.
Kazuko and Ed in love and on a date.

I don't know all the people  here, but standing Left to right: two unknown people, my Uncle Pete, and my mom's stepbrother.
Seated from left to right, unknown man, my Aunt Yoshiko who is married to my Uncle Pete, unknown woman, and my dad, mom, her natural sister in the white shire, and her step-mother. The Pettit brothers were not really supposed to be stationed together and would never be stationed together after Johnson AFB.

This was probably one the last times the sisters met in Japan. Standing left to right is Hirako (half-sister) and Aiko (the baby in the lap of the Korean maid in the Ohba Family photo above)
Seated left to right is my mom, Kazuko, and Fumiko (little girl in the white fur coat on the right)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Lotus Dance

In the philosophy of Buddhism, the lotus represents you and your mind of thoughts and emotions while living on this earth plane.  The lotus rises from murky muddiness and grows to the surface of the water where there is light.  There are many different meanings as to the openness as well as the color of the lotus flower, but basically the meaning of an open lotus flower is the attainment of enlightenment.   So many of us are born in utter confusion and many of us must deal with so much personal hurt while growing towards being a better person.  We all have that "monkey mind" and let our thoughts get the best of our emotions and health.  
Although I am not Buddhist, I appreciate the philosophy very much and view the symbol of the lotus flower as a growing and often struggling human being. My painting "Lotus Dance" represents that very growing phase between birth in the mud to enlightenment of the blossoming lotus flower. We all skirt and skate through life, bending this way and that to adjust to our own personal healthy growth.  We often have had to deal with tremendous personal tragedies and a life time of personal hurt and regret throughout our lives.  However, with much hope of still attaining light and happiness in our short lives, we conquer our emotions, our self-criticizing thoughts, and we make peace with the things that have hurt us.  True enlightenment is when we let it all go and then our lives culminate in the opening of a lotus blossom.   
"Lotus Dance" did not make the cut in the CPSA International Show this year.  I need to go back to the drawing board and try to figure out why.  Is it me and my point of view, the use of the medium of colored pencils, am I not clever enough when I title my painting or what.....?  So, here I am doing a sort of Lotus Dance with my developing art growth.  I'll try to enter it again for the next CPSA International Show when there is a different juror. Meanwhile, it did get accepted into the San Diego Museum of Art Artist Guild Centennial Exhibition.  It'll be in Gallery 21 at Spanish Village late May and through the middle of June.  Balboa Park was created for the World's Fair and it's now 100 years old and is an inspiration for a lot of my art work including "Lotus Dance". 

"Lotus Dance" ( 22.75" x 30.37") Colored Pencil on 300 lb Hot Press Arches 

I've also had fun with masterpiece studies with the small scale of an ATC card for a PAT swap on IATC.  I always enjoy studying and interpreting the master artists and their paintings.  I'm drawn to color play with high contrasts and complimentary colors and chose these paintings to do.
Top Row: Interpretations of J.W. Turner, David Galchutt, Alice Neel, Audrey Kawasaki
Bottom Row: Interpretations of Tamara de Lempicka, Degas, E.R. Kirchner, Umberto Boccioni
All done on 3.5 x 2.5 inch ATC cards in acrylic on watercolor paper with the exception of the Degas which is done with colored pencils on cardboard. 

I am currently finishing up on a fun thing we do on IATCs which is Secret Solstice.  It's much like Secret Santa, but it's a spring/summer time of having secret partners to do art by their interests and likes.  I accidentally posted a piece thinking I could show the painting stages of one of the gifts on FB.  Sometimes, you get clumsy and forget who is your friend... but, hopefully, my recipient doesn't know it's for her and besides, she hasn't seen the final painting.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Twitterpating Spring

Where the double hockey sticks have I been?  I've certainly been making most of the  first part of the year about FUN!  However, I have not neglected my duty to always make art because that's really the very most wonderful thing to do!

For one of my BFFs, who is also an artist, we came up with animals to do for each other each year in lieu of birthday, Christmas and other celebrations and call the day "Festivus"after an episode in the Jerry Seinfeld show.  This day is celebrated whenever we are ready - usually in spring. Mainly, we find each other little gifts on the theme and we also do our own art of the animal. 2014 was the Year of the Horse (my Chinese birth symbol) and I marked a milestone birthday (60), plus it was my turn to pick, so I felt the horse was apropo for the theme.

I love horses, but I've actually only ridden on one once when I turned 50 and my husband took me to Cancun.  I rode the horse "Sailor" out into the ocean at sunset - magical!  Even though I've not had much experience dealing and relating to horse (visiting farms, racetracks, westerns and nature shows) I've always loved this beautiful creature and everything it represents.  I decided I would make my friend an art Horse book like I once did with Hopi Spirits for another artist for the Secret Santa exchange. The pages are approximately 9" x 12" and are bounded by Japanese book binding and adorned with beads and feathers. Before binding the book, I sewed down each horse page except the cover and last page in different colored threads.  Then after binding the book, I then cut the pages open following the colored threads.  I had to loosen the book a little by placing weights on the pages so it'll be easier to open when I present it.  

Cover Page: Horses from the caves of Lascaux (Charcoal on watercolor tinted paper)

Spirit Horse - watercolor with use of Golden medium done using some of the Imago Intaglio methods. 

Dark Horse - Prisma colored pencils on blue watercolor tinted paper

Ocean horse - watercolor and gouache

Winter Horse - Watercolor with a bit of metallic watercolor splash

Spring Meadow Horse - a fauvish horse and landscape in watercolor

Last page - Horse Head Nebula in watercolors with use of metallic watercolors
 It came out pretty nice and I hope my friend likes it.  I certainly enjoyed doing it and may end up doing a series of art books.  Now it's time for me to have a little fun with no pressure except meeting the deadline - ATCS.  These are for the Favorite Artist Pat in which you do the other artists, with whom you'll be trading cards, favorite artists.  Sketching always takes the longest time but now they're ready to be painted. The brown one is cardboard and will be done in colored pencils.  By the IATC gallery, it looks like I'll be receiving some fantastic interpretations of Gustave Klimt and Egon Schiele.  If I hurry with these, maybe I can get some geisha cards done next!
Clockwise from Left: Tamara de Lempicka, David Galchutt, Umberto Boccioni, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Audrey Kawasaki, Edgar Degas, Alice Neel